Infertility Awareness Week: Things Your Infertile Friend is too Nice to Tell You

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This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I’m glad about that.  With 1 in every 8 couples of reproductive age dealing with this issue, it’s certainly something that needs to be brought to the forefront.  Chances are, someone you know well is struggling with conceiving, and there are a few things you need to know…things they may be too nice to tell you.

  1. We don’t want your pity.  Yes, for whatever reason, there is a part of my body that’s not working the way it should.  However, I’m still a successful human being with plenty of other great qualities and abilities.  We’re not pathetic; we’ve just got something that’s not working quite right.
  2. We don’t want your judgement.  I actually had a friend tell me, in essence, “that’s what happens when you wait so long to have kids.”  I already know that.  I know that fertility decreases as you age.  We waited for a reason.  For us, life hasn’t been stable enough to provide for a kid until these last couple of years.  There’s truth in oft-repeated statement, “if you wait until you’re ‘ready,’ you’ll never be ready.”  However, it’s also a good idea to try to wait until you’re in a position to be able to provide for that child, and sometimes that doesn’t happen until you’re thirty.  Your judgement alienates and hurts us.
  3. We don’t want your suggestions.  Yes, I’ve tried essential oils.  Yes, I’ve tried castor oil wraps.  Yes, I’ve tried apple cider vinegar.  Yes, I’ve tried supplements.  Yes, I’ve tried a gluten free diet.  Yes, I’ve tried a ketogenic diet.  Yes, I’ve tried lemon water in the morning.  Yes, I’ve heard of fertility massage.  Yes, I’ve heard of acupuncture.  No, I’m not interested in any of it anymore.  Your infertile friend has probably done her research already, and may have already tried most of these “natural remedies.”  Your suggestions aren’t helpful; they’re actually a little annoying.
  4. We’re a little pissed that you’re pregnant.  Do I still love you?  Yes.  Am I happy for you?  Absolutely.  Will I love your baby?  No doubt.  But please be understanding; there’s still going to be a tiny part of me that’s sad that it’s not me.  It’s still going to sting a little when you tell us how excited you are that the baby’s kicking, or even when you complain about your swollen feet and insomnia.  Because it’s not us, and we’d give anything to experience the things you’re complaining about.  Your baby shower is going to be awkward for us, especially if we end up having to field the “why haven’t you guys had kids yet?” question from unthinking acquaintances.  It doesn’t mean we hate you; it means we’re human.  And that’s going to have to be okay.
  5. We still need YOU.  It’s easy to withdraw when you’re struggling with such a personal problem.  Plus, the hormone treatments we have to go through (Clomid, Lupron, the variety of drugs involved in IVF) wreak havoc on our emotions and make us anxious, depressed, and grumpy sometimes.  We need you to be there to watch a movie with us, go shopping with us, run a mile with us, or just sit with us while we cry.  Sometimes we need you to take our mind off this terrible journey, and sometimes we need you to listen to us while we agonize over it.  Mostly, though, we just need you to be there.

So, there you have it. We’re struggling with a private and often embarrassing problem.  Love us in spite of it.

– this post by Melanie Weaver first appeared on Inner Monologue of a Madwoman –

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